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JonG

Zaxcom ERX as Camera Hops - New Problem

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I am curious to know if this is happening for anyone else. 

 

I’ve been using Zaxcom ERX2TCDs as camera hops for about as long as they’ve been around, with an IFB100 transmitter. For the most part it has worked well, though things were better before everyone else on set started bringing their own wireless devices and creating interference for me. But overall they worked fine. 

 

As of recent times, I’m finding that many cameras have begun to dislike the TC from the ERX, causing the cameras to issue warnings, and the TC to often times not take to the camera, or maybe only intermittently. I’ve been seeing this happen on all Arri cameras, however this is a fairly new phenomenon. Only within the past few months has this been happening. The ERXs still work well on other cameras. 

 

When I encounter this issue I get out my Denecke JB-1s and they work fine, and I end up using my ERXs only as audio sends. 

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I too have had this issue w zaxcom timecode in gereral and alexa mini's whether qrx100q, rx200 or erx. My only solution has been tentacle attached for tc and all seems good. Sony cams fine, red cams fine for the most part although a few seemed finicky with erx's as well but rx200 ok. Denecke and tentacle have been great backups for sure though i much prefer zaxcom if i could get it to work. 

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I thought the Zaxcom to Arri TC problem had been solved? Is it the jitter thing? Or was that something else? I don’t entirely remember 

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It was working fine for years but I’m guessing that a new firmware version for Arri has introduced new issues with reading Zaxcom TC.

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Ah ok, all I ever heard was that it was the other way around, that a new firmware had fixed it. But since I don’t use this I have only taken a side interest in this and might be confusing issues

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Arri re-did their timecode software on at least the Alexa Mini (but I think on all) and added a feature call "Jam-Sync" which retunes the internal camera clock to the incoming TC stream.  This makes TC a lot more accurate when not jammed for long periods of time, but can also take up to 30 minutes to tune the clock, and Arri requires a very stable TC signal to tune to.  Arri cameras complain about the jitter in the Zaxcom TC especially when using Jam-Sync mode.  Using Regen will fix this issue.

I have always had issues with Zaxcom TC and Arri cameras.  The TC is always accurate, the issue boils down to a flashing warning indicator that comes and goes letting the cam op know that something is wrong with the tc (usually says incoming frame rate is wrong), even when it's working correctly.  I usually just go with it, and let the AC know that it's normal.  If it bugs them then I offer a tentacle sync to add to the camera instead.

BTW, this is not just an issue with Arri cams, Denecke slates cannot auto detect the frame rate from Zaxcom TC, usually confusing 23.98 code for 24 like the Arri cams do.

 

 

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2 hours ago, mikerobertson said:

 The REGEN then PRESET  method has been working great for me. Battery / framerate changes can zero out the clock sometimes but resetting it is real easy.

 

I think if you just leave it on REGEN and leave the TC on the camera at all times, then after Battery/fps changes the TC comes back right away

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3 hours ago, Constantin said:

 

I think if you just leave it on REGEN and leave the TC on the camera at all times, then after Battery/fps changes the TC comes back right away

 

I have been using the same process for ages with Deneckes and Tentacles. Also, no need to re-jam when coming back to real time after high speed shooting.

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Hi, I have used the ERX on just about every digital camera, and I haven't had the mentioned problem. The only problem I can relate, is the camera dept. Using a cheapy version of the Teradek, and I guess it was leaking, which caused interference to my 2.4 signal. I will go check and see if I can find that brand. I remember on the 1st day of the shoot, the website for the cheapy video transmitter was down.

 

I found the brand, it was the cheapest unit that Trigyn makes. 

 

Thanks, Martin

Edited by MartinTheMixer
Found brand name that I had mentioned.

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4 hours ago, MartinTheMixer said:

The only problem I can relate, is the camera dept.

 

This is certainly an everlasting problem. As time goes on, I find that fewer ACs actually know what they are doing, and most don’t know the menus of a camera. Just last week, while working with an Alexa Mini that they couldn’t figure out how to get to work with an ERX, they sent the camera into a small room for interviews with the fan on full! I had to be the one to say something, and it took them a half an hour to figure out how to remedy the situation, and still I ended up being the bad guy in the situation because if it weren’t for me apparently, the fan would not have been an issue! Talk about amateur hour!

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Regen then preset is sadly the only way to make it work. The Jam mode doesn't work. If you leave it on REGEN, then an orange warning flash will happen in the monitor, driving the camera Op crazy.

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When you switch to PRESET from REGEN, the camera no longer takes external signal.  If you are going to do it this way, it's the same as just jamming the camera and unplugging the external TC box.  If you leave it on REGEN the camera will continue to take the external TC.  Yes, the warning indicator will flash, but there is no real problem and TC will be accurate regardless of frame rate changes, battery changes, etc.

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Well I’ve basically given up. Zaxcom TC seems to have become too much of a headache, and incompetent ACs don’t help the situation. I’ve just started putting the Denecke JB-1s on the cameras and only use the ERX for audio until my custom cables are complete for my old G3’s. 

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The Arri issues an on screen warning, but the warning disappears and then re appears,  and on and off all day.  

 

The audio always sync's perfectly,  I hate seeing the warning.  

 

I also saw the warnings disappear with various clients based on firmware.  Everything still sync's in post though.

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Hi All, I have never had these problems. I will be on an Arri tomorrow,  I'll let you know if I do have problems. But I have never had any problems with my ERX not feeding time code properly. The only time I have had time code problems, the camera was broken and no device could have fixed the time code. Maybe I have been lucky and the software in the Arri cameras that I have dealt with has not been upgraded. I don't know.

Thank you, Martin

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Since I'm a TC freak / nerd, I can check the Zaxcom TC if you like.
Just feed your TC out to a line input, and record a couple of seconds.

 

For my fun and research, set (if available) a pre roll.

 

You can send the file using this:

click here to upload

 

Bouke

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38 minutes ago, MartinTheMixer said:

I will be on an Arri tomorrow,  

 

In my experience, this only applies to the Arri Alexa Mini

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1 hour ago, Constantin said:

 

In my experience, this only applies to the Arri Alexa Mini

Constantin, Thank you. I can only remember maybe 2 of those in the last 6 months. Maybe I have been lucky on those few.

 

Thank you, Martin

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Working with a mini this morning, and after 2 hours of getting all the crew trucks unstuck from the snow, I surprisingly had some time to look at a couple things. 

So far I have seen a few warnings pop up, but no where near the almost constant warnings that I'm used to seeing.  23.98, tc out at 2.0 volts

This is a little different than the OP's experience, but it seems to me the latest mini firmware has made a significant improvement around working with Zaxcom TC.

 

Firmware of the camera I'm with today is 5.4

From the arri software updates page:

 

For version 5.4:

"Improved Timecode Behaviour in Regen Mode"

 

From version 5.0:

"Improved Timecode Behaviour in Regen Mode
Compatibility with SMPTE compliant generators that have caused intermittent warnings in the past has been improved for Regen mode. Starting with SUP 5.0 the camera applied a strict quality control on the timecode signal to ensure that the source would work with JAM Sync mode and tuning. This check has partly been removed in REGEN mode to support generators that comply with SMPTE specifications, but do not match the requirements for tuning the camera. As a consequence some timecode related warnings will not show any more so that operators will have to take greater care that the timecode signal applied to the camera will match the project setup. The warnings that won’t show in Regen mode any more are:

LTC In frame rate is incompatible with project frame rate (mixing integer and non-integer frame rates)§ LTC In drop frame configuration mismatch (camera uses drop frame, source does not or vice versa)
In both cases the camera will now show the warning Timecode synchronization is required.

LTC In frame rate differs from project rate (mixing integer or mixing non-integer frame rates"

 

 

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4 hours ago, Constantin said:

 

In my experience, this only applies to the Arri Alexa Mini

It used to be, then they updated the firmware in the Amira and it is now the same there as well.

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46 minutes ago, Brian Liston said:

It used to be, then they updated the firmware in the Amira and it is now the same there as well.

 

Ah ok, didn‘t know that. It makes sense thozgh, because I always understood them to use the same firmware. 

 So did that situation also improve as per v5.4? 

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On 3/7/2019 at 12:26 PM, Wandering Ear said:

Working with a mini this morning, and after 2 hours of getting all the crew trucks unstuck from the snow, I surprisingly had some time to look at a couple things. 

So far I have seen a few warnings pop up, but no where near the almost constant warnings that I'm used to seeing.  23.98, tc out at 2.0 volts

This is a little different than the OP's experience, but it seems to me the latest mini firmware has made a significant improvement around working with Zaxcom TC.

 

Firmware of the camera I'm with today is 5.4

From the arri software updates page:

 

For version 5.4:

"Improved Timecode Behaviour in Regen Mode"

 

From version 5.0:

"Improved Timecode Behaviour in Regen Mode
Compatibility with SMPTE compliant generators that have caused intermittent warnings in the past has been improved for Regen mode. Starting with SUP 5.0 the camera applied a strict quality control on the timecode signal to ensure that the source would work with JAM Sync mode and tuning. This check has partly been removed in REGEN mode to support generators that comply with SMPTE specifications, but do not match the requirements for tuning the camera. As a consequence some timecode related warnings will not show any more so that operators will have to take greater care that the timecode signal applied to the camera will match the project setup. The warnings that won’t show in Regen mode any more are:

LTC In frame rate is incompatible with project frame rate (mixing integer and non-integer frame rates)§ LTC In drop frame configuration mismatch (camera uses drop frame, source does not or vice versa)
In both cases the camera will now show the warning Timecode synchronization is required.

LTC In frame rate differs from project rate (mixing integer or mixing non-integer frame rates"

 

 

 

On 3/7/2019 at 1:15 PM, Constantin said:

 

Ah ok, didn‘t know that. It makes sense thozgh, because I always understood them to use the same firmware. 

 So did that situation also improve as per v5.4? 

 

Hello, Well, you guys jinxed me, or I  jinxed myself. I shot on the Alexa mini yesterday,  and sure enough, it's giving a warning, (picture attached) that it needs to be jammed. I could see the TC looked accurate, and it had jumped from the previous time in the camera to the time currently on my erx. I thought it was going to be a longer discussion after I mentioned the software issue, and then the d.p. overheard us, and  said "I was shooting in Miami last week, and it did the same thing", and that was that. I have a great camera crew. I will ask the d.p. what device they were using in Miami. Maybe if I show him a picture of time code boxes, he can identify the suspect.  I will see if I can get the software version that the camera has too. 

 

Thanks, Martin

20190308_090033.jpg

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